[Air-l] Trusted Wikipedia
Chris.Heidelberg at ssa.gov
Thu Sep 21 09:38:40 PDT 2006
The publishing/media industry has been a traditional partner with
academia. As a member of the media on the public side now, and formerly
on the corporate side exclusively, I know that the publishers have had a
monopoly and amassed large fortunes due to academic publishing.
Universities can now be full fledged publishers with online publishing
and contain the costs and reap some of the profits.
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Bonnie Nardi
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 12:00 PM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: Re: [Air-l] Trusted Wikipedia
Mary Bryson raises many important points. Why indeed are we trying to
tame this miracle? We already have scads of academic journals. They
aren't going away, they have enormous value, but they don't have to be
the only game in town.
On the let a thousand flowers bloom theory, Wikipedia is its own
I like the freedom writers have to write there without worrying about
what an expert thinks. The funnel is narrowed when a small handful of
experts begins to exert control and shape the writing.
Wikipedia is one source among many. It is what it is, and what it is is
unique and has value.
In my experience, today's students are immersed in the Internet and they
won't skip over Wikipedia just because a teacher tells them it's not
reliable. The problem is more likely to be that they rely only on
Wikipedia and don't dig deeper, even when Wikipedia tells them where to
Mary's points re McLuhan and Arendt are very well taken.
Bonnie A. Nardi
School of Information and Computer Sciences University of California,
Irvine Irvine, CA 92697-3425
On Sep 21, 2006, at 8:00 AM, Mary K. Bryson wrote:
> On 9/20/06 7:45 PM, "Alex Halavais" <halavais at gmail.com> wrote:
>> To do this, we need to assemble a group of people who have some level
>> of recognition in the field, and who are willing to devote a small
>> amount of time to helping to select a core set of articles and
>> oversee the review process. While we will be looking at a number of
>> ways to make this process more technologically easy, the key issue
>> here is to find a group of people willing to invest a little time and
>> their reputations in an effort to make Wikipedia a more trusted
> "Recognition" is such a complicated construct. How to fashion a
> version of "recognition" that would make sense within the unique
> version of constraints that operate in Wikipedia would be a productive
> educational activity.
> would be productive of something that would, in all likelihood, stage
> a return to some notion of "verifiable expertise". It's just so hard
> to avoid a return to the repressed. What, exactly, is the problem with
> Wikipedia, anyway, really? And I mean "problem" from a scholarly
> Here we
> have an enactment of Hannah Arendt's observation that when there is
> genuine novelty it always appears rather miraculous, and we want to
> bring a novel artifact back into line with what it replaced, against
> all odds - something like - an academic journal? Why? Who doesn't
> trust Wikipedia, and who wants to trust its contents, and what is it
> to have a relation of "trust"
> knowledge, anyway? What kind of knowledge is it that improves in its
> value because we stand before it in a relation of "trust"? The latter
> is probably easy enough to answer at the level of the everyday - as in
> -- "Well if I'm going in for open-heart surgery I want the person with
> the scalpel to know a little more than what you could find in a
> Wikipedia article." But outside of that realm of instrumental
> knowledge, literally, who is a "trusted source"
> and with what are they entrusted, and by whom? It's good to keep in
> mind what McLuhan observed about the contents of a new medium
> invariably being that of what it replaced... Maybe we can't help but
> experience anxiety that this odd site seems kind of like an
> encyclopedia, but is different.
> our relation to that anxiety can also be productive of the insight
> that we might not need to move to enact a strategy of repair.
> Dr. Mary K. Bryson, Associate Professor and Director, Graduate
> Programs, ECPS, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia
> Research Profile http://www.ecps.educ.ubc.ca/research/mbryson.htm
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